Sep 132012
 
Florida Law Removes Divorced Spouse As A Beneficiary From Non-Probate Assets

A recently enacted Florida law would nullify the designation of a spouse as the beneficiary of non-probate assets such as life insurance policies, qualified annuities, individual retirement accounts (IRA), employee benefit plans, and payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) accounts, upon the dissolution or annulment of a marriage. Florida Statute 732.703, effective July 1, 2012, states that “a designation made by or on behalf of the decedent providing for the payment or transfer at death of an interest in an asset to or for the benefit of the decedent’s former spouse is void as of the time More…

Jul 032012
 
Prenuptial Agreement Will Likely Play Key Role In Cruise-Holmes Divorce

Katie Holmes, the actress and wife of Tom Cruise, shocked celebrity-watchers last week by filing for divorce while Cruise was away from the country working on a movie project.  Holmes’ petition was filed in New York and seeks full custody of the couple’s young daughter.  As this legal drama unfolds, a central issue will be the existence and terms of a prenuptial agreement between Cruise and Holmes. A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who are about to wed which spells out how their assets will be distributed in the event of their divorce or death.  Prenuptial Agreements More…

Nov 172011
 
Estate Planning For Unmarried Couples

It today’s America, the number of partners who choose to live together without going through the process of establishing a legal union is on the rise.  There are a number of reasons that more people are choosing to stay unmarried these days.  For example, the recent economic downturn has made many couples more hesitant to take big steps in their lives, as they prefer to wait until the turbulence has subsided.  Also, homosexual couples do not have the right to get married in many states, including Florida.  Finally, one or both partners may be receiving financial assistance that they cannot More…

Nov 072011
 
LegalZoom Reaches Settlement In Class Action Lawsuit

The online company LegalZoom has reached a settlement with plaintiffs regarding a class action lawsuit filed in Missouri.  LegalZoom.com is one of the largest online legal document preparation services and frequently provides estate planning, business formation, and intellectual property documents to customers across the United States.  The plaintiffs, all Missouri residents, argued that the company violated Missouri’s unauthorized practice of law statute when it sold them legal documents generated on its website.  They also claim that the company violated Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act by enticing customers to buy its services with false representations about their legality and validity. Although LegalZoom More…

Oct 182011
 
Estate Planning Lessons From The McCourt Saga

Many sports fans are familiar with the recent developments in the case between Frank and Jamie McCourt.  For those who have not followed the story, Frank McCourt is the current owner and chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which he purchased for $430 million in 2004.  Jamie McCourt is his (soon to be former) spouse.  The McCourts have gone through a lengthy and, at times, messy divorce proceeding that has threatened Frank’s ownership interest in the Dodgers.  It has recently been announced that the McCourts have reached a settlement in their divorce case which involves Jamie relinquishing her claim to More…

Oct 042011
 
Falling Into the “Gap” - How A Qualified Income Trust Works

The Florida Institutional Care Program (ICP) is a Medicaid program that helps people in nursing facilities pay for the cost of their care while also providing general medical coverage.  In Florida, the ICP is managed by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF).  Services for ICP are provided by participating skilled nursing facilities that are reimbursed according to state formulas.  To qualify for Medicaid benefits for nursing home care under the ICP, an applicant must meet three eligibility requirements: categorical, resource, and income. The categorical requirements for ICP are as follows: individuals must (1) be a U.S. citizen or More…

May 262011
 
6 Years Later - The Terri Schiavo Case Still Serves to Highlight the Need for a Living Will

In Florida, the memory of Terri Schiavo remains a poignant lesson about the need for a living will. On February 25, 1990, Terri collapsed in a hallway of her St. Petersburg, Florida, apartment and never awoke again. What followed was 14 appeals, numerous motions, petitions, and hearings in the Florida courts; five suits in federal district court; Florida legislation struck down by the Supreme Court of Florida; a subpoena by a congressional committee to qualify Schiavo for witness protection; federal legislation; and four denials to hear the case from the Supreme Court of the United States. Given her lack of More…